With so many opportunities for spreading your message online, it can be hard to know where to spend your time. After all, there are only so many hours in the day – and many ways to fill those hours.
The answer varies, but it all comes down to strategy. In order to build this strategy, you have to answer a few fundamental questions. Specifically, where is your audience, what is your goal, and what kind of content do you have to share?
Before you begin shaping your strategy you have to know where your audience is. Even though Facebook, for example, is a huge driver of social traffic, if your audience isn’t there (or if your content isn’t what they’re looking for when they are there) you’re not likely to reach your goals.
Your Google Analytics data can show you where your current social traffic is coming from and where your content is naturally being shared. You can also peek at your competitors’ social pages. If they’ve built an audience in a network, you likely can too.
Do you want to sell product? Build your brand? Connect with influencers? Decide what you want to do first, and then choose the network or networks that are most aligned to helping you accomplish your goals.
Pinterest, for example, is an excellent channel for driving retail traffic and for brand building. Twitter, on the other hand, can be great for building your brand and connecting with influencers.
At their hearts, social media networks are content distribution channels. If you have video content, YouTube, which reaches everyone, is a no-brainer. If you have great visual content, this can work on a number of platforms, including Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you have informative blog content, that’s great, but consider how you can make this content visual. As we’ve said here before, visual content is a must for social media.
Of course, it all comes back to time. If you have limited time, consider participating in the channels that don’t require daily participation. While they might require additional resources up front, Pinterest and YouTube do not have to be “fed” in the same was as Facebook and Twitter do.
At the end of the day, it’s much better to actively participate in a single channel than to have several channels with tumbleweeds blowing through them.
Remember, nobody has to participate in social media. But there are big opportunities for the brands that do. If you want to take advantage of those opportunities, though, you’ve got to be “all in.”